Nailing the Singing Audition: Do Your Prep Work
Knowing your style, choosing your song, and preparing your music are the most important steps you take in preparing for your audition. But you don’t want to let the small things fall through the cracks, either!
Depending on your selected genre of music or the size of your city, you may not have to do all these things. In bigger cities with more competition (particularly in the musical theater genre), you want to make sure that you do everything you can to be prepared.
Know the scene. If you’re auditioning for musical theater, read the trade paper Backstage for at least one year. For opera, do the same with Classical Singer. You want some time to get used to the audition listings and to prepare your audition book (a notebook that has photocopies of all the songs you’re prepared to sing for auditions) for any type of show.
As you’re preparing, set some goals — both short term and long term — so you have a plan of action. For other styles of music, you can find auditions listed online or you can hire a coach who can help you set goals and find local auditions.
Get your resume and headshot ready. A resume and headshot are like a calling card for the entertainment industry. If they like you, they will keep your resume to contact you. When you put together your resume, list your important credits and assume that someone will spend only about 30 seconds looking at it.
If you list every single thing you’ve done, the audition panel may miss the credits you really want them to see. You also want your resume to be only one page. Don’t fib or stretch the truth on special skills. Be specific when listing your voice type for classical auditions; adding information about belting is important for musical theater auditions (mezzo belter, soprano with high belt, baritenor, and so on).
You want to list your range along with your voice type on your resume. They want to know your performance range, the notes you’re confident singing in performance.
At most auditions, singers bring a photograph called a headshot. This headshot is usually an 8-x-10-inch, color photograph of just the head or upper body. The photo also usually has the singer’s name printed on the bottom in the border. Your photo needs to look like you at the audition. Staple the headshot and resume together, with the smooth side of the staple facing the resume side, or use double-sided tape to attach them.
If you’re not sure whether you should take a resume and headshot to your audition, you can ask. (If you’re auditioning for musical theater, call the theater office or the contact person listed in the audition ad.) But assume that the answer will be “yes”; it’s better to have it ready, just in case.
Pick up audition skills from classes or advice from teachers.
Practice the way you’ll audition. If you know you’ll use a microphone at the audition, practice with one. At the audition without a microphone, you’ll have to show that you can project your voice. Work on creating a resonant sound to project at the audition.
Prepare your speaking voice for the sides (material from the show that you’re asked to sight read or prepare for the callback).